Showing posts with label Copts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Copts. Show all posts

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Biblical Story of Jesus in Egypt

The Christmas season is almost upon us and is a great opportunity to tell children around the world that the infant Jesus travelled in Egypt and performed his first miracles there, says Jill Kamil

Despite the biblical references to the Holy Family's journey to Egypt: Take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt [Matt: 2:13], and Out of Egypt have I called my son [Matt: 2:15], outside of the Coptic communities around the world, the early years of Jesus are not as widely known as the Nativity, the Passion, and the Resurrection. Is it not time to stage a three-act play in Coptic churches that combines the Nativity with the Flight into Egypt? It should be borne in mind that, apart from Copts in Egypt and the Middle East as a whole, there are more than 500,000 in the United Sates, 100,000 or in Canada, 300,000- odd in Australia, and more than a million residing in Europe, Latin America, Africa and New Zealand.

If the children of Coptic doctors and academics, engineers and businessmen -- and I should mention that Copts in the diaspora have built impressive Coptic Orthodox churches and the bulk are regular church-goers -- took part in or attended such a play, I wager that soon enough the schools that they attended would come to know about the three-act "Christmas Story", and perhaps it would then be enacted in churches of other denominations. What a boost to tourism that would be!

Some years ago an attempt was made by the Ministry of Tourism to promote tours entitled "In the Footsteps of the Holy Family". The first step, which achieved great success, was the restoration of sites and churches associated with the visit of Mary, Jesus and Joseph -- no fewer than 22 throughout the Delta and Upper Egypt. Subsequently, there was sustained effort in promoting the tour on television and video clips. Ultimately, though, it failed. The idea was not sold by travel agents, largely because due consideration had not been given to its feasibility. It was not possible to take tourists to the sites associated with the Holy Family because most of them were too far apart: they span the whole of the Delta as far as Wadi Natrun in the Western Desert, and extend from Cairo and its suburbs to sites in Upper Egypt as far as south in Deir Al-Muharraq, west of Assiut.

Religious tourism is a fixture of both ancient and modern cultures, a constant through the ages, and until today a mainstay of tourism in several areas. It is not possible, however, to promote this product in the same way as Pharaonic monuments are marketed, which is to say as religious buildings rather than a religious experience. What better way than to bolster Coptic Orthodoxy than by actively joining in the celebrations at the end of each year, rather than wait until 7 January, the date of the Coptic Christmas, when the New Year celebrations are over and people are enjoying the post- Christmas shopping sales? Why not take advantage of the pomp and ceremony that surrounds the Western Christmas well in advance of 25 December to relish and promote the tradition so strongly supported in Egypt, of the sojourn of the Holy Family, and extend our celebrations through to 7 January? And why not bring reverence for the past into a tangible present by presenting a three-act play at the right time, when the whole of the Christian world is focussed on the birth of Jesus Christ. The play might run like this:

Act I: The traditional scene of the Nativity with Christ in the manager, the three Wise Men and the shining star, culminating with the entry of Roman soldiers, and with Mary and Joseph gathering up the Child, and fleeing across the barren desert of Sinai into Egypt's fertile Delta.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Copts in New York Protest Persecution

This statement is from the American Copts at who organized simultaneous rallies in several States to “express their resentment and rejection to what is taking place to their brethren in Egypt, including killings, destruction and looting of their property, displacement from their homes and the forced Islamization of their minor daughters.”

Link to "the "silent" majority no more!"...with lots of photos.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Muslims and Christians Flock To See Mary In Cairo

Our Lady is appearing to Copts in the poorest neighborhoods of Cairo. She doesn't say anything, but her presence speaks nonetheless. Like children, the Copts and some Muslims crowd around her mantel, seeking protection, maternal love and hope. The following is from "The Watchers Lamp" blog.

(ANSAmed) - CAIRO - Exorcisms and alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary are occurring in Cairo, in two of the city's poorest neighbourhoods, and the two phenomena are drawing in throngs of the faithful, mostly Christian Copts but Muslims as well. The most recent event is the one which occurred last Friday in the El Waaraq neighbourhood, located in the Giza area. The Egyptian Gazette reports that many claim to have personally witnessed the Virgin Mary on the roof of St. Michaels church with her arms opening in their direction, while the smell of incense and a flock of doves surrounded the area. This event allegedly occurred at least twice, but a Church appointee was unable to capture it on video. People are now awaiting for the return of Copt pope Shenouda III to return to Cairo from the USA on the day after tomorrow. He is expected to set up a committee that will look into the alleged apparitions, and to decide on the now sizeable amount of money offered by the faithful.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Coptic Women Being forced to Marry Muslims in Egypt

This article is from the Baptist Press, and we have to say that it's interesting that the call Copts Christians. Copts who don't accept any of their core doctrines regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary and a host of other issues too numerous to mention here have given the title, "Christian" to these suffering people. How nice of them. Now that they recognize this ancient group of Christians who have more in common with Catholics than they have with Baptists, perhaps we can make some headway?

WASHINGTON (BP)--Coptic Christian women in Egypt are being forced to marry and convert to Islam and that oppression is part of a larger pattern of persecution against Christians facilitated by the Egyptian government, according to two recent reports.

"Cases of abduction, forced conversion and marriage are usually accompanied by acts of violence which include rape, beatings, deprivation of food and other forms of physical and mental abuse," said a new assessment by Christian Solidarity International and the Coptic Foundation for Human Rights.

At the same time, the 2009 U.S. State Department report on international religious freedom noted the Egyptian government fails to prosecute crimes against Copts and even has taken a hand in destroying church property and, in one case, a government official reportedly raped a woman who had converted from Islam to Christianity.

About 90 percent of the Egyptian population is Sunni Muslim, and the rest primarily identify themselves as Coptic Christians, according to the Human Rights Watch report "Prohibited Identities: State Interference with Religious Freedom." Copts typically are underprivileged and experience discrimination.

Egyptian sex traffickers entice Coptic Christian women from low-income families by promising an escape from poverty, then force the women into Muslim "marriages" or outright slavery, according to the CSI/CFHR report.

"Such abuse remains covered in a cloak of silence and tacit acceptance, even though it is against the constitutional affirmations of civil rights," the report said.

Once a Coptic girl is coerced into marriage and Islamic conversion, her family will not take her back, and if she leaves her "husband," she is considered a "disgrace" to her family, the report said. In addition, the Coptic Orthodox Church excommunicates female members who wed Muslim men, the State Department said.

Since Islam is the "religion of state" in Egypt, conversion to Islam is easy, while returning to Christianity is unacceptable, the HRW report said. The Civil Status Department, which issues national identity cards, sometimes refuses to give Coptic women a new card identifying her as Christian since it is considered apostasy for a Coptic woman to leave Islam, even to return to her religion of origin.

Egyptian law requires every citizen to have an identity card for purposes such as voting, employment and education.

Most of the cases of Coptic women being coerced into marriage are not reported and "observers, including human rights groups, find it extremely difficult to determine whether compulsion was used, as most cases involve a female Copt who converts to Islam when she marries a Muslim male," the State Department report said.

In two examples of coerced conversion, CSI/CFHR reported Nov. 10:

-- An Egyptian woman was raped and beaten since she would not have sex with the man she was forced to marry. The Coptic cross on her wrist was later removed with acid.

-- Another woman was forced to marry a Muslim lawyer and work for him in "slave-like conditions" for five years.

John Eibner, CSI's chief executive officer, urged President Obama in a letter to combat the trafficking of Christian women and girls in Egypt and to make sure the U.S. makes this issue a priority in its relations with Egypt.

"Trafficking of Christian women in Egypt is not a new phenomenon.... But this problem has now reached boiling point within Egypt's Coptic community, which views it as symptomatic of a much broader pattern of religious persecution," Eibner said in his letter.
Cindy Ortiz is an intern with the Washington bureau of Baptist Press.

Link to original...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Coptic Christians Praise Swiss Minaret Ruling

USA: December 4, 2009. (PCP) Dottore Architetto Ashraf Ramelah, President of Coptic Voice said that Sunday, November 29, 2009 will be remembered as a turning point in the protection of our democracy and freedom. I believe that all of the West must congratulate every Swiss citizen that voted to ban the building of Minarets as well as those who agreed to allow them to be built.

This is the democracy that western women and men were brought up on prior to the introduction of political correctness, more appropriately called “shut your mouth.”

Swiss citizens as well as all westerners are in great need to sit back and analyze the facts without any exaggeration or undermining the issues. All of us have a great responsibility towards our children and grandchildren. History will remember us as a great people who fought to keep democracy and freedom, or rather, a people who were unable to protect it.

Referendum plays an important role in democracy and through democracy power is given to every citizen. The result of any referendum is sovereign, and governments are obligated to follow the desire of their citizens.

In the early 1970’s I had the opportunity to observe two important referendums in Italy. The first was in favor of divorce, the second was for abortion. Both referendums were against Catholic teaching. In spite of the fact that the Vatican is in the center of Rome, the Italian capitol, and the head of the Catholic Church is also the Bishop of the eternal city, I never heard any instigation from the Church, its leaders, or political conservatives at that time.

I grew up convinced that I could disagree with your idea but I still respect you. Arabs, on the other hand, think and act differently than this. Arab-Muslim leaders throughout the whole world condemned the Swiss referendum. Some Arab leaders instigated their followers to rise aggressively against such a decision. I am sure that we will soon read and hear about the boycott of Swiss products, and maybe Swiss embassies will be closed in some Arabs countries.

Various western voices including some Vatican officials condemned the result of that referendum. I wonder if those leaders forgot that in a democracy the power belongs to the people, or can it be that such political leaders cannot stay away from so-called political correctness. The question remains that if political correctness were really correct, would one use it to criticize the will of the people, or instead accept the outcome in spite of any disagreement.

In western society there is a tendency to please strangers without consideration to their own people. Furthermore, instead of condemning the referendum results, I was hoping that our political leaders would be more effective in putting pressure on dictatorial and fascist regimes ruling in Arab Islamic countries in order to bring democracy and freedom to those populations. How dare those Arab leaders criticize a Swiss citizen for his choice in his own homeland concerning strangers, while the same Arab leaders do not give any respect to a citizen with a different face living in his own country.

The Grand Mufti of Cairo was very angry about the result of the referendum, criticizing the Swiss people for lacking respect for freedom of religion. Wow!! I wish the Egyptian regime could give Egyptians even one-half of one percent of the freedoms that the Swiss people enjoy. I do not want to take the time to describe the 1400 year history of oppression, discrimination and political correctness that Copts have endured in their own land.

Is there any political or religious leader in all of Egypt who would be willing to stand up honestly and admit that Copts have been under siege for more than 1400 years? Is there any political leader in the West who would be willing to stand up and put aside his political correctness to demand that those who wish to build a Minaret in someone else’s home must first respect basic human rights in his own home. It is time that everything be called by its own name, without hiding the facts, and with no special privilege given to any ethnic group or religion.

On behalf of Voice of the Copts, I urge all the citizens of the European Union to promote a similar referendum in each country along with a demand to their political leaders to put pressure on those regimes in order to help the religious minority in those countries to have basic human rights, democracy and human respect.

The real issue of this referendum was the goal of putting an end to the building of Minarets (architecture) and not the banning of the construction of Mosques as Arab-Muslim leaders and those with politically correct views would have us believe.

Link to original...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Violence Ongoing in Egypt as Copts Plead for Help

Assyrian News Service

FARSHOOT, EGYPT (ANS) -- Since the early morning of November 21, the Upper Egyptian town of Farshoot has been the scene of ongoing Muslim mob violence against Coptic Christian residents. The violence has also extended to a number of neighboring villages.

According to the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), the mob ramsacked and burnt Coptic property, while Copts hid indoors fearing to go outside. Reuters Cairo reported a witness said, "Chaos is overwhelming (in the city)."

The violence was prompted by reports of sexual abuse of a girl by 21 year-old Copt Guirgis Baroumi, from Kom Ahmar, on Nov. 18.

AINA said the 12-year-old Muslim girl has been identified as "Yousra." Baroumi is being detained by the police pending an ongoing investigations and forensic results. Many Copts believe that the rape incident is being used by Muslims as a pretext to start violence against them.

The violence is continuing. There are reports that seven Coptic women have been abducted.

Witnesses said nearly 3000 angry Muslims gathered in front of the Farshoot Police Headquarters. They were there, AINA reported, planning to kidnap and kill Baroumi while he was being transported to court.

Bishop Kirollos said it was agreed with Yousra's family to await the court decision, "but they did not wait for that."

AINA said Coptic priest Rev. Benjamin Noshi was driving his car when the mob stopped and assaulted him, fracturing his skull. He is currently in hospital.

By the evening, AINA reported, most Coptic businesses were looted and burnt. "They are destroying the Coptic economy in these areas," said Wagih Yacoub of Middle East Christian Association.

A witness said that some Coptic families were thrown out of their homes, which were occupied by Muslims.

Link to original...

Related Articles:

-November 21, Rioting.

-November 19, Egyptian Convert Writes Letter to Obama.

-October 28, Muslims kill Christian over Nude Photos

-October 5, Egyptian Security Arrests Copts in Home

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Violence against Egypt's Coptic Population Continues

Assyrian International News Monitor

Farshoot, Egypt (AINA) -- Since early morning on Saturday, November 21, the Upper Egyptian town of Farshoot, as well as the neighboring villages of Kom Ahmar, Shakiki and Ezbet Waziri, has been the scene of ongoing Muslim mob violence against Coptic Christian inhabitants. The mob looted, vandalized and burnt Coptic property, while Copts hid indoors fearing to venture out. Reuters Cairo reported that a witness said "chaos is overwhelming (in the city)."

The Violence is still going on. There are reports that seven Coptic women have been abducted.

Read further...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Egyptian Convert to Christianity writes Letter to Obama

Religious Intelligence

By: A staff reporter.

A 15-year-old Egyptian girl, Dina el-Gowhary, who converted from Islam to Christianity, has sent a plea to President Obama, complaining of mistreatment by the Egyptian Government and asking for his mediation.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Egyptian Security Arrests Several Christians for Praying At Home

Egypt (AINA) -- On October 24, 2009 Egyptian State Security arrested a Christian Copt in the village of Deir Samalout, Samalout, Minia province, for praying "without a license." He was held in prison for two days before being released on "compassionate grounds." Maurice Salama Sharkawy, 37 years old, had invited Pastor Elia Shafik, to conduct the sacrament of the 'Anointing of the Sick' for his sick father, who had suffered a stroke. State Security broke into his house while the prayers were ongoing, handcuffed Maurice, put him into a police car and took him to a police station for interrogation.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Muslims kill Christian over Nude Photos of Girlfriend in Egypt

By Michael Carl
© 2009 WorldNetDaily


Tensions and the threat of confrontation remain high in the central Egyptian village of Dairut after Muslims killed a Christian man whose son had taken photos of a Muslim girl he was dating, fomenting Muslim rioting against Christian targets.

Police say they have arrested four men in connection with the shooting death of Henry Atallah, who was attacked allegedly because his son took "illicit" photos of a Muslim girl he was dating and distributed them with his cell phone.

Read further...

Related stories:

30 Arrested in Clash at Church Tower in Egypt.

Egypt is increasingly unsafe for Christians.